In March of 1998, I began working the company in Boston that was instrumental in helping me find my current direction (for reasons both good and not so good).
My first week "on the job" was actually in training, so I didn't get in to the office until Week Two. That first day, I was given a tour of the office by Bruce, once of the senior accountants with whom I would be working very closely for the next six and a half years. At the time, Bruce was a gruff young man (quite a switch from the normal gruff old men), but once you got to know him, he was a really awesome human being. Bruce also had a very advanced case of Lou Gehrig's Disease. Even then, when I first met him, he had very little control over his hands. His gruffness came from his desire not to be coddled in any way whatsoever.
One of my fondest memories of working with this company in Boston was at a fund raiser for Bruce. He only lets them happen every other year, because they made him uncomfortable, but we, as an office, really looked forward to them when they did happen. There's always a nice plated dinner, followed by a silent auction, then ice skating out on the frog pond over on the Boston Common. The dinner each year is held at the Hampshire House, and usually, before heading over to ice skate, folks go put a little buzz on downstairs at the Bull and Finch Tavern. Yes, Cheers. Tickets for the dinner vary each year, but the company always buys them for all of the staff.
In the video of my Grad Show from the Improv Asylum Training Center, Bruce is sitting in the front row with my friend Melissa. You can see the silhouettes of their heads and hear their laughter through the whole thing. He has always been really supportive of the creative stuff.
Bruce has two beautiful children, and an amazing wife. He's a strong man, and he has stayed working with the company longer than anyone else in his situation would have.
It was just recently that he started staying home partial weeks, if I recall.
Last Thursday, his tracheotomy tube clogged, but by the time the EMT's arrived, he'd been without oxygen for nearly 10 minutes. Right now, he's in a coma with little to no brain activity outside of the brain stem. On Friday he will be taken off of life support.
I am amazingly blessed to know Bruce. He is a fighter. And an inspiration for me when I must fight. I can't be there to say farewell to him in person, which is unfortunate, so I'm leaving my farewell here, for the next time he browses LJ.